There are things in my sexual history I remember vividly. From rubbing on stuffed toys to masturbating to giving birth to two children. From seeing a boy orgasm for the first time, to learning about anal plugs and male sleeves.
I was lucky. Anything my older cousin told me about sex wasn't locked away in my brain and repeated as truth. I knew better. I knew better because a very long time ago a rebellious woman who taught our school district's sex education class pulled a group of us girls OFF school property and told us the REAL deal on sex. Not the watered down, censored version of what the government and your parents and priests agreed you could know. Not the fuzzy "don't have sex until marriage and we're not allowed to tell you about condoms so don't ask" discussion one Wednesday afternoon in the gymnasium. No. Mrs. D. wasn't having any of it.
I remember sitting at my desk, separated from the boys, while she began her very boring, very generic speech on how I may bleed from my crotch and I'll need to know what a pad looks like. How my boobs will grow and I"ll get hair in places I didn't realize hair grew. How one day, when I was really in love, married, and wanted to make a baby, a boy would be involved and something that looked like a tadpole would swim up me and pierce an egg.
It was all very vague.
All the girls in the class knew it. Mrs. D. knew it. But we sat there and listened anyway. We all KNEW there was stuff missing from this "talk"-but we girls were too shy to ask and then probably be branded a "slut" and Mrs. D. was forbidden by the law to tell us much more.
Then something happened. I'm not sure if she could see the confusion in our eyes or if she was just sick and tired of the restrictions placed upon her...but she stopped.
She stopped her lecture right in the middle of showing us our fallopian tubes, set down her pointer stick, and sighed.
She walked in front of the desk and leaned on a student's desk in the front row.
"I'm not going to bullshit you girls. If you want to know the REAL deal with sex, and all the things you NEED to know, meet me across the street by the dumpsters after the bell rings."
Then she casually walked back to the chalk board, picked up her pointer, and finished her very boring lecture on my innards.
Of course a giggling pack of us tentatively walked across the street when the bell rang. There was Mrs. D. waiting. She opened her purse and showed us a condom, she let us touch it and practice putting it on a banana. She told us about birth control pills, she told us about sexually transmitted diseases. She told us about abortion. She told us about adoption. She also told us if any of us girls needed any of these things, here was her home number and she'd be happy to help us. Then she closed up her purse, and walked back across the street to the school.
It took me many years to realize how brave Mrs. D. was that day. She retired from teaching that very year. I have no idea if parents found out. If the school found out. If she ever got in any trouble.
When I was in high school, I remember hearing she had passed away. I wondered how many girls she saved from teenage pregnancy by breaking the rules. How many girls she bought birth control pills for. How many girls she counseled after a boy violated her young body.
I was lucky.
Mrs. D. was truth in a world of lies and whispers and hushed conversations between adults. She told us the truth, and I swore I would do the same for my children.
Not long ago, Suzanne over at CUSS sent me an email about a new book coming out, and recommended I take a look see. The author, Logan Levkoff, sent me an advanced copy of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be," and I dove in before I could throw the box away.
Please let this be a real way to talk to your kids about sex. Please let this not be the watered down, glossed over version of public school sex ed.
I wasn't disappointed. Third Base Ain't What It Used To Be is a practical parent's guide to talking to your children about sex. From making sure you use REAL words with your small children (like PENIS and VAGINA-not wee-wee and whoo-ha) to talking to your teens about blow jobs and flavored condoms. Yes, you need to talk to your teens about blow jobs, because guess what... they are getting them and giving them.
Logan gives you ways to approach the subject with your kids without freaking them (or yourself) out and teaches you how to keep the dialog open and honest. She doesn't push her views on you, there is room for you to, of course, teach your children your beliefs...but she also doesn't bullshit. She gives you the stats on abstinence only programs and why they suck. Why its important your teenage daughter knows how to put a condom on a penis. Why your son needs to buy his own rubbers. Why you should encourage masturbation. And maybe most importantly, why you need to get over your own sexual hang ups and talk honestly with your kids about all things sexual.
One of the parts of the book I loved, in particular, was discussing ENJOYING sex with your daughters. Yes, letting a girl know and understand from a young age that sex is not a chore. Sex is not a duty. Sex is something she can ENJOY.
WOW, what a concept. A generation of girls knowledgeable, educated with more than "vague concepts," and prepared to be sexual when they are ready and capable of enjoyment. Not because it's what is expected at this point in the relationship. Not to keep a boy. Not to do what all the other girls are doing. Not to see what all the fuss is about, but because she wants to. Because she knows how to have an orgasm and can expect her lover to give her one, or teach him how. She knows how to protect herself from STDs and pregnancy.
Holy empowerment batman.
Logan also talks about teaching our sons respect, responsibility, and knowing their role in pleasing a woman.
But maybe most importantly, the entire book discusses how YOU, as the PARENT, need to be your child's MAIN SOURCE for all things sex. Did you squirm in your chair a little? Ya-you are no longer absolved by way of some 7th grade health class. Nope. You get to be Jr.'s sex educator, and let's face it...you should be. From their little, toddler, rubbing on stuffed animal years to their "ohmygawdpleasedon'tknockupyourgirlfriendinhighschool" days. YOU get to be their guide.
So if you are a bit out of touch with the current lingo for going down on a girl or blow job parties (uh-huh-they have them) pick up Logan's book. She can help.
You might even learn a few things.